Top 5 James Bond Villains

Top 5 James Bond Villains

I am going to start by adding a caveat to the title in that the four out of my five are pairings, being villains and their henchman. In addition this is my own top 5, if you think others should have made the list I would love to hear them so drop a comment below! 

5) Le Chiffre

A personal favourite from the Daniel Craig era is Le Chiffre. He encapsulates everything a bond villain should; the scars, the accent and that stare! Some of the most iconic scenes from that movie are only enhanced by Le Chiffre. Starting with the all-in poker scene; the suspense and his arrogance upon the showdown is just incredimads_mikkelsen_casinoble… ‘oops, you must have thought I was bluffing Mr Bond’ with a rise smile. But who can forget the famous rope scene? Torture scenes in Bond movies are often rather inventive, we have seen sharks, snakes, medieval devices an
d even lasers… But only Le Chiffre can make a rope and a seatless chair to be just as menacing as the rest… ‘i’ve got an itch’.

4) Auric Goldfinger and Odd Job

A Fan favourite through and through, this pairing is a classic and arguably the most Auric-Goldfinger-Goldfinger-1964iconic in the franchise. I think what has propelled Auric Goldfinger to such a fan
favourite is the legendary Laser scene, a classic which embodies just how evil he was… ‘No Mr Bond I expect you to die!’. coupled with the absolute unit of a henchman that is Odd Job, wielding a bowler hat that can be thrown to kill people, Sure why not after all it is James Bond.

3) Alec Trevelyan and Xenia Onatopp

Alec Trevelyan is an interesting Bond villain as he starts out as an agent for MI6, so Alec_Trevelyan_(Sean_Bean)_-_Profilethroughout the movie you still feel compelled to sympathise with him. Saying that it never detracted from just how evil he become, after all he did want to literally blow up the earth. His sidekick was the somewhat attractive Xenia, using her seduction skills to bizarrely enough kill people during sexual activity… yes I know. She was a true psychopath and a perfect companion due to her complete submission and loyalty to Alex.

2) Francisco Scaramanga and Nick Nack

To some extent I would say Scaramanga is a coward for large parts if not all of this movie, constantly trying to evade and lure Bond. However, this only makes him more dangerous and unpredictable, demonstrated perfectly in the final showdown on the island. One of my favourite Cbond-scaramanga27hristopher Lee performances, his delivery is sublime and menacing… He also has a flying car! A perfect companion to such an evasive villain is an unsuspecting midget in my eyes… I mean who would
know? Nick Nack is truly instrumental in Scaramangas plans for nearly all of this movie, and without him I think this movie would loose a lot of its charm and personality.

1) Karl Stromberg and Jaws

Come on, could it really have been any other duo? Starting with Jaws, the name alone gives you a pretty good idea of what this blokes gimmick is… teeth. He is truly frightening and could easily make it into any horror movie. He has been in more than one bond movie but he is at his best in The spy who loved me, specifically throughout the pharos scene. I mean, biting through lock and chains to reach his quarrelling victim, he is Jawsunquestionably the best bond villain. The thing is he is only a henchman, the brains of the operation in The spy who love me came from Karl Stromberg, who has to have the coolest lair in all the bond movies. Sitting in a victorian decor room, dropping unsuspected victims into a shark pool in his underwater fortress, I think is the pinnacle of what a true bond villain is all about

Burnt – Film Review

Burnt – Film Review

Directed by the most unlikely of candidates John Wells whom is most well known for his TV series Shameless. I have to say he has made a worthy effort here. He has managed to capture the brutal, intimidating and fiery environment of a Michelin starred kitchen perfectly in this movie, delivering the Gordon Ramsey vibe sublimely… ‘It’s f*****g raw!’. Often dry and with little substance, movies of the culinary sort usually lack depth, to put it mildly. But this movie gives you a lot of breathing space to understand who and what the characters are all about. Not only that but this is one of the first movies I have seen that has genuinely tried to tackle the obsessive mind of a chef and their yearning for perfection. 

Plot and opinions

Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), a recovering alcoholic and drug addict is trying to get his act back together to prove his worth in the restaurant business and gain his three michelin stars. After much persuasion his rather reluctant former maitre d’, Tony (Daniel Brühl) hires him. Adam then promises said former maitre d’ that he will assemble the best chefs he has previously worked with to reach perfection.

Upon this magnificent seven like assembling burnt07of chefs we come across Helene (Sienna Miller), who is the main supporting character. Kids flirting on steroids is the only way I can describe the relationship between Adam and Helene. As, instead
of pulling at her pigtails he physically assaults her during
service to prove a point, yet clearly having affections towards her. Cementing how truly dysfunctional Adam is as a character, as his inability to share emotion is very apparent.

Character exploration (besides the leading) and extensive screen time was tried through Adams doctor (Emma Thompson) to help him battle his demons during the movie, but I have to say it bluntly, she burnt09added nothing. There were however shimmers of light coming from some of the kitchen staff during certain scenes, only to be ignored for the rest of the movie once they were semi-established. It was a shame that these characters were not explored further, to add even more purposeful layers to the movie. Therefore it almost felt like a one or two person show at times, with Adam spearheading it in his search for perfection. But maybe the unnecessary character development would have merely detract from the heart of the movie, after all too many cooks spoil the broth…

Notable Performances

Bradley Cooper as Adam jones: For large parts of the movie Adams cold exterior in a tunnel like state of mind for success takes precedence. Though from that, it is interesting to see how his character develops as his barriers are softened and start to come down. Bradley convincingly proves throughout the movie that he can convey the complexity and depth of his character very well. Especially due to the fact that there has not been a particularly strong performance previously for a model by any actor in a culinary role in my eye’s.

Final Thoughts

In all honesty I did enjoy this movie. It was refreshing to watch a drama that has a different theme, compared to a lot of the predominantly regurgitated content we have gotten lately. Although the premise (in that a chef wants to get three Michelin stars) and some of the characters are to some extent basic, it was executed quite nicely. Some nice onscreen relationships, coupled with an unforced and natural plot made the perfect recipe!  7/10

Inglorious Bastards – Film Review

Inglorious Bastards – Film Review

When you think about WW2 movies you instantaneously think that the plot is either to eradicate all Nazi’s off the face of the earth or to simply Kill Hitler and his bum chums. Well this movie does not wholly differ from that notion, yet it totally differs from the norm entirely!

The Plot (in a roundabout way)

Tarantino’s Bastards (a Jewish-American revenge squad) are dropped behind enemy lines to first and foremost kill Nazi’s (100 scalps each to be precise). This seems simple enough right? Well… this is where it gets a little more complicated to explain without being that bum who coughs up the whole reason why you would go through the twFilm Title: Inglourious Basterdso and a half hour slog. However, Tarantino tries (and succeeds) to create an epic that is not a mere American V Nazi bust up (cough, Saving Private Ryan). Rather he incorporates the German film industry into the plot creating an opportunity to exploit the Nazi’s leaders from the core… that being at a German film premier… in France. Yes, now you are with me. In order for this five part plot to develop organically and not seem too forced Tarantino introduces a British captain (fluent in German), a German film star (working for the ally’s) and a french cinema owner who really hates Nazi’s (the first scene may give you the reason) to add depth and substance to the plot. The movie is structured in the five part way to yes, give depth to the characters, but to also keep the movie flowing so that Quentin’s well known jigsaw can be put together to reach the finale. However, don’t be under any illusion that the only bit of action is the finale… because trust me, it’s not. 

A delve into some of the characters

As always the characters in Quentin’s movies are sublime and IB is no different. Starting with Colonel Hans Landa (the Jew hunter) of the SS played by Christoph waltz. Although the scripting is gripping and well written, Christoph truly does however mould this character from the off bringing him to life depicting the menace, intimidation, intellect and to some extent the charm all in a very real and believable way. Those associated with the SS in Nazi germany were well known to be creepy, odd and incredibly in
tense. Christoph epitomises this in each and ever one of his scenes through his delivery and his body language.

Landa_gives_Aldo_his_knife_backIn the second part we meet Lt. Aldo Raine (AKA Gorlami!) played by Brad. A brusk southerner who has one thing on his mind… to kill Nazi’s. Brad creates a character who is truly likeable, funny and although does not have the depth of Christoph’s character, still makes a big impact in the film. 

Lt. Archie Hicox, who could be a better match for a Brit tasked to disguise himself as a Nazi than Michael FaMichael-Fassbender-as-Lt-Archie-Hicox-inglourious-basterds-38821767-500-334ssbener? Clue… there isn’t! Possibly one of Quentin’s easiest casting decisions he has had to make in his career, Michael does not disappoint. smooth, sophisticated, charming and cool all spring to mind when describing Archie. 

There are also some big female power roles present in this movie one of which is Shosanna, The cinema owner played by Melanie Laurent. Strong, no shit taking girl 12820b56562eb2abfea0dbd59ae6b18awho is the character with arguably the biggest backstory. Her attitude towards authorities of power does not change throughout the movie rather she becomes more abrupt in dealing with those she dislikes (most notably with a certain German that decides he likes her… big mistake.) 

Final Thoughts

Tarantino really pulled it out the bag with this one. His ability to captivate an audience not only through brutal action sequences but through long spells of dialogue is truly spectacular. Once again he sucks you in and immerses you into not only the brilliant characters but also the vastly distinguishable scenes that he creates. The pouring of the whisky, milk or champagne, the dollops of whipped cream, the offering of a cigarette… simple as they may seem these actions and the way he takes these shots makes you believe that you are truly there. These distinguishable scenes create an ease of reference to this brilliant film when you come out of the cinema or when you are talking about it with friends in years to come. A truly re-watchable classic. 9/10

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To Bremain or to Brexit

To Bremain or to Brexit

Any mention of Remaining or leaving the EU instantly sparks a rather zestful conversation, may that be in the workplace, at your local or even in the household. It is a controversial topic that people undoubtedly feel very passionately about as the referendums outcome will effect each and every one of us in one way or another. Due to this most people (including myself) hold very strong view points about certain subjects surrounding the EU, may 41826_flags_european_union_flag.jpgthat be jobs, boarder control, trade or even whether or not you can make your yearly trip to Benidorm in the same way you have for the past 40 years…

A lot of these topics I have mentioned seem to be shrouded in a lack of clarity as political parties, organisations and ‘important’ individuals have distorted statistics, emphasised less meaningful points and seemingly made us more confused than when they started their respective crusades of convincing us to leave or remain. So I will lay it out as it is and of course inject my ‘astute’ judgement on each and every point as much as I can.

Starting with the big one… boarder control and the free movement of people in and around of the EU. First of all those who do in fact go on a yearly trip to Benidorm you will still be able to do so as freely as you desire (trust me Spanish businesses and the government needs the revenue from tourism). But in all seriousness people in the UK seem to be obsessed with this topic, if you are one of those who hold the view point of “they take our jobs!” or “do you know how much they actually contribute to this country?!” I for one (generally) am the latter. If we do leave the EU we will in fact get full control of our borders meaning we will choose who comes in. We could therefore potentially adopt a points baseuk-borderd system  (like Australia’s) to warrant who comes in based on what they can add to the economy through their skill set and so on. In addition to this we could rather favorably take the (rather immoral) sidetrack and avoid the migrant crisis, so there will be no strain on our public services. But the Bremainers unsurprisingly have a different ideology in that those such as Mr Cameron say Immigration is key to a growing economy and highly regulating our boarders will actually discourage the movement of people to the UK. If we do leave you also have to ask question regarding the morality of shutting out 3,000 desperate migrants, are they really going to be such a strain on a superpower such as Britain?

One of the most difficult topics to hold a solid view point is about trade. This is due to the sheer amount of statistics out there regarding the amount of trade we receive from the EU and how much we could actually keep if we left etc. The UK gets a huge about of trade from the EU per year, around 52% of total global trade. The Bremainers say that if we leave due to the ease of trade deals that can be conducted within the EU, the demand for our goods and services will drop significantly and manufacturers will simply transfer production. Evidently this will mean that outrade-1r overall revenue will drop and therefore it is much safer to keep ties with the EU and allow UK corporations to have that trade advantage. Whereas Brexiters feel this will not be the case and hold the view point of the EU needs us just much if not more than we need them. In 2015 the telegraph reported that our trade to the EU is actually at an all time low and is set to decrease in relation to our global trade  (link at the bottom of the page). As the world is becoming more and more globalised and the ‘BRIC’ nations such as china are demanding more and more English goods is this the way to move forward? Coupling that with the negotiating of a new free trade deal (similar to what Canada have just signed with the EU) this may in fact be a better way to get the most out our trade without being highly regulated.

Moving swiftly onto yes you guessed it… Jobs. Closely linked to trade as clearly simple economics explains that a fall in demand means that supply will have to drop as well in order to be at equilibrium. So will there be a huge unemployment fiasco if we leave, will there be a surge of new jobs or will it make about as much of a difference as whether or not there is a sale on at DFS…? Well Brexiters state that actually the level of employment in the UK is not dependent on whether or not we are a member of the EU rather if there is demand for our goods and services employment will remain stable. Another vejobcentrerex_228x243ry interesting point to bring up is how if we choose to leave the levels of that loathsome word ‘bureaucracy’ will not enshrine or companies throughout the UK. This may actually cause a boom of employment. Brussels are obsessed with dangling the long arm of the law down on businesses throughout the UK and the rest of the EU. There has been a whopping 3,589 new laws and regulations placed on employment, manufacturing and health and safety etc. This slows down production, leaves the freedom for innovation in tatters and demotivates creativity. James Dyson recently lodged a legal challenge regarding the specifications of his vacuum cleaners proving the EU is not always as idyllic for big businesses as one may think. This is all well and good but Bremainers believe that actually businesses trading with Europe will actually receive a huge fall in demand due to the higher prices businesses will have to charge as a result of tariffs etc. This will therefore mean large numbers of employees may in fact have to leave the workplace if the demand is simply not there. Or even worse factory productions may either outsource or move the location of their production to another country that is in the EU to avoid tariffs.

Now as your astute mind may already have gathered I am in the Brexit camp. I feel we are shrouded within this ideology that we get more out of the EU than we put in, but its simply not true. We inject around £13bn per year and receive in return a measly 6bn in return. Regulations are a huge factor, our businesses are smothered by regulations stalling productions, we have huge restrictions on the types of  fishing and farming we are allowed to conduct, we cannot set our own foreign policy and who are making these decisions? Those who have no relation to our country, most likely has never been to the UK and is run by a president who is undemocratically elected by those he is meant to be representing. It is undoubtedly great to be close to Europe and have that ability to at this moment in time trade freely and converse But I feel it has truly had its day and is only going to decline further. But my final say might truly turn you over to the Brexit side, if we do in fact leave the EU the president of the Eurovision song contest has publicly announced we will still have our place. So there you go folks, there is the information, converseit!

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11661581/Trade-deficit-shrinkage-set-to-boost-UK-growth.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/12176663/EU-Facts-how-much-does-Britain-pay-to-the-EU-budget.html